Barrier contraceptives - other types
Barrier methods of contraception all work by stopping the sperm reaching an egg - which would result in conception - when the sperm and egg join - and pregnancy. The condom is the most popular of all, and the only one that protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These are the others:
The diaphragm, or cervical cap - and spermicide
A diaphragm, or cervical cap, is a reusable form of contraception which is placed inside the vagina, covering the cervix (the entrance to the uterus), anytime before sex takes place. Afterwards they must be left in for around six hours, then removed and cleaned in warm water with a gentle soap and dried. Regular checks for holes or damage should be made.
Diaphragms, it must be said, are not the most common forms of contraception nowadays. They must be obtained from a doctor or clinician, as they come in various sizes, and must be fitted to your body size and checked every year.
They provide no protection against STIs. To help protect against pregnancy, they should be used with spermicide . Spermicide comes in the form of a gel or cream, which is inserted into the vagina along with the diaphragm.
The female condom
This, unlike the diaphragm and cervical cap, can be bought like a condom from a chemist. No prescription is needed. It is like a large pouch with a ring at each end, one closed, one open. They have not been very popular since their relatively recent introduction.
How to use one
Remove it from the packet - it is already lubricated and the closed end of the condom goes inside the vagina. Push it in as far as you can.
Using a finger inside the condom, push it past the pubic bone as far up as you can. The open part of it, which has a ring of latext, should remain outside the body where the penis is inserted.
After sex make sure you twist the end as you remove it to avoid any semen escaping. It is not reusable!
When and if you're ready:
You really must say you're a virgin the first time you have sex.
Go really slowly and gently, don't have overly high expectations - Meantime, enjoy your virginity and maybe explore